Wednesday, December 31, 2014

time to wrap up the Christmas festivities

Every year at this time people are sharing their top moments from the past year and announcing their word for next year. Then there's me, bringing up the rear with late Christmas posts. This year is no different. 

We drove up to Massachusetts for Christmas with my family. I'm sure you're thinking, "Traveling 20 hours in a car with a baby is the most fun I can imagine a person having!" I had the same thought. I set my expectations VERY LOW and expected 19.5 hours of crying. I assumed Annabelle would cry a little too. The whole thing went much more smoothly than expected. The baby cried a grand total of 30 minutes, thanks in no small part to the steady stream of crackers I handed her. She mostly cried in New Jersey but who wouldn't cry going through NJ?

I spent most of last Christmas Day throwing up in a hotel room. I'm thankful to say this year was vomit free and truly delightful.

My aunt married her boyfriend on Christmas Eve. It sealed the deal that my second wedding/vow renewal/ Pinterest wedding will take place at Christmas time. (Yes, I'll be marrying Christopher. People always tell me to clarify.)
Annabelle wore her fanciest party dress to the festivities. She considered it a dress rehearsal for her wedding to George. 
Suddenly her face is half the size of mine.
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN AND WHEN WILL THIS NONSENSE STOP?
I searched high and low for the perfect first doll to give Annabelle. When we got the doll out of the box and handed it to AB, she pulled it to her and kissed its head. Try not to slip on the puddle my heart made when it melted on the floor.
I bought this dress last Christmas before I knew I was having a girl. It's too big but I don't care. It's 3 billion times cuter on her than I ever imagined. 
(Just to clear the air- people have said, "Oh, isn't smocking a southern thing? You are becoming a southerner?" The answer is a resounding n-o. I am not. Smocking, big bows, and love of fried okra are where any similarities between myself and southerner begin and end.)
Everyone says Christmas is so much better with a baby. I'm not going to lie. I thoroughly enjoyed the 24 Christmases I sat around without having to change a diaper, pick up puffs of the floor, nurse a baby or put someone down for a nap. But this Christmas with my baby and her baby was pretty special. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Parade of Christmas Clothes, Edition 1

A plaid Christmas dress. Could anything be more perfect? I don't know why she's not wearing a bow. I must have temporarily lost my mind. 
No tears of our first visit to Santa! Things can only go downhill in future years.

All dressed up for her first Christmas party with A Soldiers Child. She wore sparkly shoes and the whole outfit was perfection. 
 Santa baby! 
We bought this dress before I was even pregnant because I fell in love with it. My aunt got married on Christmas Eve and Sesame was the best dressed guest.
Yet another dress I bought before she was born. I can't help buying cute clothes! I love this sweet little bald girl.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

from us to you


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa Baby



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

a little family Christmas

Random pictures from the night we decorated our tree that have nothing to do with this post.
AB's Baby's First Christmas ornament
*
Since we're traveling for Christmas this year we celebrated our little family Christmas over the weekend. We started off by walking through the Christmas lights downtown.
Sometimes you ask someone to take a family picture and it causes a traffic jam on either side of you while the photographer attempts to figure out the camera. You end up with a precious picture like this.
The next day we went to see the Christmas decorations at the Opry hotel. I loved the poinsetta tree. It made me ashamed for having difficuly keeping my 3'' poinsettias alive and thriving.
Occasionally a stranger does take a good family picture.
Found this cute baby over by the fountain. Wonder who she belongs to.
We did our stockings and let AB open the remaining gifts from the Solier's Child party. She is FASCINATED by this Minnie Mouse car. She can't believe we let her live on this earth 8 months without telling her about light up toys.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

a tale of many trees

* tap tap* Is this thing on?

It's no secret we're a family who loves multiple Christmas trees. This is our fourth Christmas together and we've had 11 trees. We put all our family ornaments on the fake tree and choose a theme for the real tree. We have five threes this year which is a new record.

Annabelle and I put together a Charlie Brown tree for her room. I assembled while she tasted the box.
Keeping expectations low by giving her a personal tree with only one ornament. Things can only go up from here in Christmases to come.
We put together our fake tree and as in years gone by, we had issues with the lights. It came lit but we're always surprised that we have to add our own lights even though we do the same thing every year. I don't know why couples in pre-marriage counseling aren't required to put up Christmas lights together before they head down the aisle. It's an activity that can make or break a marriage.
We couldn't find the fake tree stand so Christopher said we could use the real tree stand instead. I said it wouldn't work. He said it would with some cardboard and duct tape.

Look who was right.

Three days and one new tree stand later...
It looks like I have metalic curtains. I do not.
The next day we went to pick out a real tree. I'm very picky when selecting a tree. If I'm going to have a giant piece of the outdoors in middle of my living room I want it to be straight, smell nice, not have gaping holes, and be symmetrical. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. The trees at Home Depot were only so-so. The trees sold in the Olive Garden parking lot were too expensive. The Walmart trees were pathetic. The Christmas tree odds were not in our favor. We went out again after church the next day and discovered that either everyone in this town goes to a tree farm or the people who live here have no Christmas spirit. (Based on the faces I saw last night while shopping, I'm going with the second option.) We drove around for over an hour and not a tree seller was to be seen. (Could I be making this story any more drawn out? Yes, yes I could.) Back to the place by Olive Garden we went. After a few deliberations and sniffing of trees, I we decided on a tree that fit all the requirements. It was bigger than we normally have but go big or go home. 

It's about two feet taller and three feet wider than we expected. It was so fun to put the lights on!

I told Annabelle I needed her to sit in front of the tree to provide some sort of scale.
She had other ideas...like CRAWLING. OMG.
I am now in love with our larger than life tree.
It has a "White lights only because we ran out of time to do anything else" theme.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas is becoming her favorite time of year

We had a busy Saturday. First, we dropped AB off at parents day out at MOPS. I was really proud of myself for signing her up because  I still don't love leaving her with other people. (Except on the days I want to break outta this house like a criminal escaping prison. Then I'd hand her off to almost anyone.) Christopher and I had a breakfast date then walked around the mall. In other words, we partied hard during our childless two hours.

In the afternoon I took Annabelle to a Christmas party put on by A Soldier's Child Foundation. She wore the second dress in her Christmas dress rotation. It's a real shame she's a shabby looking child.

The party was held at a church downtown and a grand total of 800 children were signed up to attend. I like kids but that's A LOT OF CHILDREN in one spot. Every family got a blanket, a book and a bag of gifts specifically bought for each child. I've always been on the giving end of these events so it felt extremely weird to be the one receiving. I almost didn't sign Annabelle up for it because I felt so odd. Annabelle didn't feel odd at all. She waved at everyone, pulled on the pompom hat of the girl in front of her, ate a container of apple sauce, and loved the music. Basically, all her Christmas dreams came true in one hour.
I managed to get most of our faces in the picture. My selfie skills are improving.
I wish we could met the family who picked out gifts for Annabelle. They wrote us the sweetest card and gave us this big bag. It was so generous of them.
She opened one gift yesterday and we're saving the rest for Christmas. Not that she notices there are more in the bag. All they needed to do was give her the gold bow. She played with it for 15 minutes straight. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

words on Wednesday

Once again I feel have no interesting/comical/heartwarming stores to share. It's more of the same ole same ole over here. Sweeping the floor four times a day, grocery shopping, and getting stuck under chairs. Our life is really wild right now.

* I designed our Christmas cards and put them in the cart before realizing I didn't put our names on them. I hope this doesn't cause much confusion. If you get a card from us and don't recognize our picture than I think something is wrong with our friendship.

* We don't have our tree(s) up yet. We were going to start putting them up Sunday night, then Monday night and now it's Wednesday and we're still treeless. What we do have is a lovely collection of 16 snowman figurines of every shape and size imaginable given to us by a couple from church. Snowmen have taken over our living room.   

* I'm currently in search of semi-coordinating pajamas for our family. I was originally only searching for matching pajamas for Sesame and I, but I didn't want to leave Christopher out of the fun. I'm looking for something a little more subtle than this bear butt family. (Although it is a million times better than being a bare butt family.)


* I took Annabelle to the mall yesterday as a reward for being so good at the doctors office. She requested we look around Forever 21. Who was I to say no to her desire to check out the inexpensive jewelry? Observation number one: no one else in there was pushing a stroller. Certainly no one else had put significant effort into dressing their child in a cute Christmas sweater. Observation number two: none of their dresses are nursing friendly. (Where did I think I was? Motherhood Maternity?) Observation number three: I don't think the aztec legging trend does me any favors. 

We went through H & M before we left the mall because I needed to boost my confidence by shopping at a store without an age in it's name. I found a shirt to try on but in the dressing room I made the unfortunate discovery that none of the stalls had doors. Whose brilliant idea was it to put curtains instead of doors? I felt like I was changing out in the middle of the store. The curtain swished every time someone walked by. Talk about taking the joy out of shopping.   

* On Sunday night we went to a Christmas concert at church. Sesame Pie enjoys music so she stayed with us instead of going to the nursery. At one point I sat her down on the seat next to me and gave her a snack to keep her quiet. She looked so cute sitting there with her little feet sticking out from under her dress and like such a big girl that I almost cried. Just last week we took her to church for the first time and she was barely 6lbs. Now she waves to everyone and is the little star who all the old people love and fight over. 

* I went pottery painting with my new friend Tiffany! She was so kind and didn't make fun of me for taking two hours to paint fifteen dots onto a bowl. Rembrandt I am not. (Tiffany will backup my story that everyone at church loves AB. She goes to church with us now (!!) and has seen it first hand. I don't say it just because I'm AB's mother.)

* Annabelle's stylist bought her more Christmas dresses than there are Sundays in December. She wore the first of the dresses on Sunday in honor of George's Irish/Scottish heritage. 
Double chins look so much cuter on her than on me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A day in my life according to me. By, Annabelle

6:02- Rude awakening thanks to a diaper malfunction.
6:20- I'm wearing new pjs, drinking a bottle (aka first breakfast) with Dad and watching Mom put a new sheet on my crib.
7:41- I awake for the day and wonder when Mom will get me up. She doesn't arrive for 10 minutes.
8:10- Mom nurses me aka I have my second breakfast.
8:40- Third breakfast! We're out of all the good breakfast food (muffins, oatmeal, butter which means we can't have toast) so I eat rice krispie cereal. 
9:30- Bath in the big tub!
9:58- My head is squeezed through a tiny hole. Apparently this is what they call "getting dressed".
10:02- Down for a nap.
10:20- I cry until Mom picks me up and nurses me. I need that midmorning snack to get through my nap.
10:57- I decide Mom's had enough alone time. Time to play, eat puffs and pull on the curtains.
11:15- Dance party to Christmas music! 
11:50- I have a healthy lunch of apple sauce with aronia berry. Mom says she doesn't know what aronia berry is but she's giving it to me anyway. Is that safe?
12:30- I spend 15 minutes playing with a mini gourd. Mom still hasn't put away her fall decor yet.
12:50- Mom notices I'm eating Dad's playing cards with the confederate flag on them. She says even though the confederate flag isn't her favorite doesn't mean I should be eating it. #partypooper
12:52- She sticks her finger in my mouth and pulls out a wad of paper. 
12:53- I fall over and smack my head on the floor. TEARS.
12:55- We're going outside! To the mailbox! My favorite daily activity! 
1:10- We sit in the rocking chair so I can have second lunch.
1:20- I play my piano like the child prodigy that I am. I go crazy and play with my feet while holding a green ball because YOLO.
2:00- nap time
2:43- THIS NAP TIME IS OVER. (Mom is not happy with me. She says I've had horrible naps today.)
3:00- Mom says we need to get out of the house so we go to the grocery store. 
3:37- I'm sandwiched between two boxes of crackers and a roll of plastic wrap.
4:28- Eating crackers in my highchair while watching Mom decorate the mantle. She hasn't asked my opinion.
6:00- I enjoy a meal of peas, carrots and more crackers.
6:18- I randomly yell "hi" to no one in particular.
6:30- I look at the American Girl magazine for a present to get myself give Prince George for Christmas.
6:52- I'm stuck under my exersaucer.
7:07- Pajama/Bible book/nightly snack time.
7:20- Mom sings to me then we do our nightly ritual of touching the elephant lamp, waving to the Paddington Bear stuffed animal and hitting the elephants on my mobile.
7:33- Mom puts me in bed and says good night. Says she loves me but doesn't want to see me again until the morning.
7:41- I'm writing this from my crib. Don't tell Mom but I'm not asleep. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I have to get Thanksgiving out of my system so I can fully embrace Christmas.

"Thank the Lord and pass the mashed potatoes."
If you don't count the 14 pictures I took of Annabelle in her turkey skirt and the five I took of my table centerpiece, I barely took any pictures of our Thanksgiving. Imagine a turkey, a bowl of cranberry sauce and a table full of dishes and you have a good idea of our day.

We had our friends Jordan, Sarah and Zack over. We played Taboo and the teams were guys against girls. The score was something like 67 to 43. I'd be more specific about who got 43 points but my spirit is still bruised. 

You can look at this as a sweet mother/daughter picture, or you can focus on the blank picture frame we have on our wall. What you can't see is we have six frames on that wall and only four have photos in them. It's been like that for a week. It's always a miracle our marriage survives hanging frames. Actually filling them all in a timely manner is expecting too much. The phrase you're looking for is Mr. and Mrs. Martha Stewart. 
I'll tell you what I'm most thankful for- you can't see the white hair in my eyebrow.
This white hair nonsense is getting out of control.

BRB. Gotta go plan my Christmas decorations.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

eight month Annabelle

Another month, another picture.
Completely not caring that Mom is making a big fuss about me turning 8 months old.
One sock on, one sock off. Starting fashion trends among the babies of the world. 
Making it quick this month. I have walls to roll into and snacks to eat.

Vital statistics: Somewhere around 14.5 pounds and long enough that my pants are getting short.
New favorite foods: mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and muffins
Milestones of my young life this month:
* I learned how to say hi and will say it while waving.
* I am this close to crawling. No one else in the house is excited about this development. 
* I've become a big fan of Dad. The more bottles he gives me the more I like him. It's win win for everyone. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

this and that and some other things going on

Wearing: Skinny jeans that are an inch too short and two inches to big around the waist. I've spent most of the day pulling the pants up while ensuring that they don't look too short. They're so comfortable that I haven't changed into pants that actually fit. I'm also wearing fuzzy Christmas socks. It's the season, falala. 

In related wardrobe malfunction stories, the first time we went on a date after the baby was born was for our anniversary. I didn't plan my wardrobe well so I ended up wearing a cute strapless dress with a strapless bra that fit fine in days of yore. I didn't consider my suddenly enlarged chest size when I put the bra on so I spent the whole night reaching down my dress to pull it back up to the right spot. I hate watching people fix their bra but there I was, sitting in a fancy restaurant tugging away. Christopher was never so delighted to be seen with me in public. 

Watching: Gilmore Girls, 19 Kids and Counting and The Blacklist. I would like to move to Stars Hollow and be best friends with everyone in that town. I'm considering naming my next daughter Lorelai. 


Annabelle very seldom watches shows but we always watch 19 Kids together. She is MESMERIZED by Mrs. Duggar. She's stopped crying when Mrs. D appears on the scene more than once. Anyone who can make another persons baby stop crying through a screen deserves some sort of medal. I'd pay quite a bit of money for an extra large dose of Mrs. Duggar's patience and perfect skin. 

The Blacklist. WHERE DO I START. I don't normally watch shows centered around law enforcement but I am hooked. The only problem with the show is I now have 42,000 new ways I might be kidnapped/injured/killed rattling around in my brain. It never occurred to be worried about death through chemical baths BUT NOW I AM. 

Attempting: to decorate a Pinterest worthy Thanksgiving table. It's not going so well. I went to the dollar store to pick up a few Fall decorations but all I found was five rolls of ribbon and some fake fruit. Had I wanted to decorate with stockings or trashy looking Santas there were options galore. 

Reading: a book about Kate Middleton and B is for Bears (Big bears! Little bears! Compassionate bears!). Sometimes we mix it up and read Hippos Go Berserk. Story time over here is WILD.

Discovering: Our baby monitor is an intercom. It was a big discovery for me. My life is so very different than is used to be. 

Wanting: People to stop posting videos on facebook that say, "Grab tissues before you watch this! It's sure to make you cry!" and "If this doesn't make you smile then you don't have a heart!" when it's a video of a cat helping a squirrel climb a bird feeder. I do have a heart, thankyouverymuch. It just doesn't melt when I watch cat videos. 

Wondering: if people still use Twitter or if Instagram has taken over the world. At least I was wondering that until Christopher said, "I was on my twitter account the other day..." Your twitter account? I think the world started spinning in the opposite direction.

Wishing: Annabelle hadn't started laughing during church when the pastor was talking about how his wife died last year. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

we did the Fall thing and went to the pumpkin patch

Sesame was really excited about the trip.
 "I'm outside! People are paying attention to me! I'm being held! My life is great!"
This picture is precious until you realize I'm straddling a pumpkin. Who does that? 
"What are these pumpkins of which you speak? Give me all the hay."
Christopher took almost all the pictures while we were at the patch. Normally I don't post pictures of pickup trucks because boring and also, boring, but I'm trying to encourage his recent interest in randomly pointing the camera in the general vicinity of an object and pushing the button. I'm also trying to encourage him to start a blog but that's going nowhere fast. 
"Oh great. Another picture with my mother."
A brief anecdote-  
Lady who owned the pumpkin patch: You're baby looks so cold! Let me zip up his jacket. Does he have mittens?
Me: Not yet. I still have to get HER some.
Lady: Oh! Look at his bracelet. Isn't that cute. Does he ever eat it?
Me: No. SHE doesn't seem to know it's there.
Lady: Is it for teething? I've heard amber bracelets help for teething. Does it help him with that?
Me: SHE drools less when SHE wears it so I'd say it helps some.
Lady: He has such pretty eyes.
Me: (my mouth) Thank you. (my head) Did you not hear the 48 times I said SHE and HER? 

Note to self- Never leave the house without the baby wearing a bow, a pink jacket, and a large sign that says ---> 100% GIRL <---.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

needless to say we didn't see Santa at the tattoo place

I went to a tattoo parlor yesterday.

We decided on a whim it would be fun to get matching tattoos of Annabelle's face on our arms so off we went.

If only it had been that exciting. Christopher wanted to get another tattoo and nothing says family bonding like parading into the tattoo place with a baby in a car seat so we all went. It was a baby free establishment (exactly as I predicted it would be) so AB and I went to the store while Christopher got it done. It's probably just as well I wasn't involved. I would have flip-flopped between covering my eyes, moaning in sympathetic pain and inquiring about the cleanliness of the tools. I did take a picture of Christopher and the tattoo guy through the window before I left. I wanted photographic evidence in case any nonsense happened in our absence. It's a miracle Christopher survived any of his previous tattoo experiences without me there to supervise. 

Earlier in the day we went to see Santa. Normally I'd do such things after Thanksgiving but I thought I'd beat the crowds and go early. The rest of the town had the same idea. The line to see Mr. Claus was approximately 954 feet long. We told Annabelle we'd go back another day but half an hour later Mr. Claus was sitting there with no one on his lap so I all but threw her on him. You'd think I actually did throw her for all the crying and screaming. She stopped crying to play with the bell for all of .6 seconds before looking at him and realizing he wasn't her mother. I think it was the beard that clued her in.
An old man at church this morning asked if my dainty little lady is a girl or boy. Annabelle couldn't believe it. She said next time she needs to wear a bigger bow so there's no confusion.